I had big plans for this week, the second week of our Easter holidays, with the weather forecast predicting high temperatures, blue skies and sunshine. With Lewis at home and the children off nursery I had envisioned trips to the seaside and picnics in the park. And as with all good plans, that all went out of the window when I found myself back in hospital over the weekend and my health took a turn for the worse. I won’t bore you with all of that, I feel like a broken record the last two years, but it meant that I needed to rest this week and instead of gallivanting up and down the county, we found ourselves stuck at home, desperate for ways to pass the time.
As soon as the weather changes and the sun makes an appearance you can be certain of two things. One, we will get out all of the blankets and the huge box of Happyland and set up camp in the garden, and two, my children will strip off their clothes and spend the days naked. Not just naked, but hot and sweaty and grubby. And they love it, the feel of the sun on their skin, their little white bottoms free from the confines of a nappy or from the elastic waistbands, digging into their bellies and their chubby little thighs. And it’s almost instant, the lightening of their hair and the tanning of their skin, just about the only thing that they have inherited from me.
For the last three days we have switched off the TV, opened every door and window in the house and we have enjoyed the first decent weather of the year. We have played with the toys, on the swing, on the slide. We have set up home in the summer house, played shop, schools, librarians and zoo keepers. We have made dens out of old blankets, draped across the table and chairs, where the children have sat with stifled giggles until Megatron has destroyed it with her brutish force. We have played hide and seek, I spy, played with the cars, the dolls, bounced on the trampoline. And when they have bored of the toys, they have used the plastic storage box and their imaginations have been endless. We have been to the moon in a rocket ship, fought battles in our pirate ship, drove to sunny beaches and safari parks in our motor car. We have been fairies and witches, Mummys and babies, good guys and bad guys….who were promptly locked up in the jail where Prison Wardens Meggy and Harry watched guard, much to Evas distress.
And we have sat with our backs to the sun, eating ham sandwiches from paper plates, our fingers stained orange from the accompanying packets of Wotsits, wolfing it down with the promise of an ice cream afterwards. Every few hours Lewis has nipped home from the skate park or playing down the fields with his friends, his face flushed with the sunshine, a spattering of freckles appearing across his nose. And after downing a glass of juice and demolishing a quick snack, he has scooted off again, the back gate ricocheting behind him, and the three youngest shouting his name long after he has left.
We have seen no-one, been nowhere, and done a whole lot of nothing and yet if you asked me how did I enjoy the holiday I would tell you that it was perfect, that although we did not do a lot, we did absolutely everything, that these children are my everything. Yes they screamed and shouted at each other, yes Eva cried herself hoarse when Megan took the Happyland princess figure and Harry broke the drawbridge from the castle door. Yes they fought over whose turn it was next on the swing and Megan dragged Eva off by her hair, pushing and shoving eachother as Harry, who had finally let go of his willy for one second, refereed in the middle. Yes they told eachother, “I’m not your best friend anymore!” and the old favourite, “I’m telling Mummy!” and I sympathised with the neighbours who, like me, must have wanted the racket to stop for just one minute. But for the first time in a long time it was lovely to just let them be, to let them play, to battle it out between themselves and find a way to play alongside eachother without the TV, without the I-pad or the battery operated toys.
We are always so busy, dashing here, there and everywhere. The school run, the nursery trips, playgroup, meeting with friends, appointments left, right and centre. This week has been a whole lot of nothing but it was exactly what we needed right now, the time to breathe, to rest, to relax. And with normality resuming on Monday, I feel ready to start a new week feeling stronger and healthier, and the hope that there shall be a whole lot of nothing to look forward to in the coming months.